Assessing the carbon content of pasture and arable soils in Kyrgyzstan

What we are doing
Implementation Period
  • Implementation Period: 2018 - 2019
  • Donor organization: Продовольственная и сельскохозяйственная организация ООН (ФАО)
  • Geographical location: Баткенская, Ошская, Джалал-Абадская и Нарынская области, Кыргызская Республика
Soil organic matter plays an important role in maintaining soil fertility. Organic carbon is both a source of nutrients and a mechanism for their retention, affects water infiltration and increases water retention available to plants and creates favourable conditions for soil vegetation in the mountainous areas of Kyrgyzstan. Soil carbon, resulting from the decomposition of plants and animals in various forms, is a key component of organic matter that plays a major role in increasing soil fertility. Accurate, rapid and cost-effective determination of this element in soil is also important for the development of a soil carbon accounting system.

Project Background

Soil samples were taken at 120 monitoring points in pastures in Batken, Osh, Jalal-Abad and Naryn oblasts. A drill was used to take samples at a depth of 30 cm.  Representatives of pasture committees were involved in the process and showed great interest not only in the sampling but also in the results obtained.

Project Objectives & Goals

The main objective of the project was to determine the organic carbon content of rangelands and arable land.

Project Result

The collected soil samples were subjected to a thorough analysis of their carbon content in the laboratory of CAMP Alatoo PF. Traditionally, determination of soil organic carbon content is based on two methods: (1) oxidation of organic matter and (2) dry burning/combustion of soil. The carbon combustion method was chosen for the analysis, which is applicable to all solids.

Available data on organic matter content and total vegetation biomass on rangeland soils allowed to analyse the relationship of soil organic carbon with biomass in the context of the country.

The project organised a workshop on "Soil Carbon Determination and Pasture Monitoring" for 30 2nd and 3rd year students of the "Agronomy" and "Phytosanitary Control of Customs" faculties of the Kyrgyz National Agrarian University.

The workshop was a useful addition to the teaching process, which included the study of such a subject as soil science. The students were given a brief overview of land conditions in Kyrgyzstan, location and varieties of pastures and causes of their degradation, as well as the experience of CAMP Alatoo PF in determining carbon in soil. The future agrarians learned the mechanisms for determining soil density and the amount of CO² in it with special equipment, as well as the tools for carbon balance calculation used in globally common scientific standards.